Alexa

France gets Euro 2008 fitness boost with Vieira and Henry playing in practice match

France gets Euro 2008 fitness boost with Vieira and Henry playing in practice match

Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry both played in a training match Tuesday against a local regional side, boosting their chances of playing in the team's next European Championship match against the Netherlands.
Both players missed Monday's 0-0 draw against Romania in Group C because of injury, and are trying to regain fitness in time to face the Dutch in Berne on Friday.
They completed the match and looked fairly comfortable throughout, with Henry scoring one goal and setting up Samir Nasri and Sidney Govou in a 7-0 win.
Vieira has been out with a small left thigh tear since May 30 and did not play a part in any of France's three Euro 2008 warmup matches. Henry missed the Romania match with a thigh strain and has not played since facing Colombia on June 3, the day before Les Bleus left for Switzerland.
Coach Raymond Domenech gave playing time to several players who figured little _ or not at all _ against Romania.
Playmaker Samir Nasri and striker Bafetimbi Gomis, and defenders Patrice Evra, Francois Clerc and Sebastien Squillaci took on a team made up of regional youth players, some of whom belong to Swiss club Neuchatel Xamax.
Henry teamed up in attack with Gomis, who scored 16 league goals for Saint-Etienne this season to force his way into Domenech's squad.
An enthusiastic crowd of some 3,000 fans watched the practice match at Stade de Lussy in Chatel-Saint-Denis.
Nasri got two goals, with Gomis, Evra and Lassana Diarra also scoring.
The rest of the French squad spent Tuesday recovering from Monday's match and doing light exercise work.
Some, like defenders Willy Sagnol and William Gallas, looked short on fitness against Romania.
Gallas admitted he was still some way short of his best, but hopes to be in top form by Friday.
"I'm at 80 (percent fit). I felt good yesterday but I know I can be ever better," Gallas said. "Against the Netherlands strikers I will need to be at my maximum. I have a few days left to prepare."


Updated : 2020-12-06 10:01 GMT+08:00